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3girls4me

Notgrass or Hakim?

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Hi,

I have been using America's Story Volume 1 (Angela O'Dell) this year with my kiddos and we've loved it.  We've added literature to round it out.  I would like to use volumes 2 & 3 next year to finish the rest of American history, but my oldest will be in 8th grade and it might not be enough for her.  I'm trying to decide if I should add Notgrass America the Beautiful or some of Hakim's History of Us books for extra reading and output.  Any opinion on how those would work with America's Story or how you feel about Notgrass and History of Us compared to one another? I likely wouldn't add any of the Notgrass or History of Us extras - I'd just have her write narrations and do discussion questions and such.

Thoughts?

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I haven’t used Notgrass or America’s Story, but we just started Hakim’s War, Terrible War (one of the volumes in her series for US history) and my kids love it. We’re reading it aloud as a family. It is very engaging and includes many primary source quotations, pictures, and reproductions. I think it would be great for middle school. 

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If you do Notgrass DO get the companion book that has all the primary documents in it. That book is incredible. It has all sorts of things in it, like letters written by presidents, poems, famous speeches, hymns, an excerpt from the New England Primer...it's just incredible. Worth getting even if you don't buy their textbook, honestly. 

As for what to do, depends what you want. Hakim is a LOT of detail, but written in an engaging way. If I were the student, Hakim would work for me. Notgrass is more distilled down to the "important" stuff, and what my oldest student needed. He got lost in the weeds with Hakim. He learned a LOT with Notgrass, and Notgrass is super easy to implement. There are discussion questions and project ideas and writing ideas for each chapter right in the textbook. It was nice to have a variety of options for each chapter for output - anything from make a political poster to make a newspaper article to write a compare and contrast essay, etc. 

Hakim is WAY more compatible with my uber liberal outlook, but Notgrass got done, and was what was needed for my son to actually figure out what he was supposed to be focusing on. 

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I have experience with Notgrass and History of US.  Notgrass has a lot of pieces - book, workbook, lit, primary sources.  This adds to the text without making it too big, but it can be annoying for some to juggle pieces.  The physical materials are quality and lovely photos.  All together it’s a very full curriculum. It is Christian, and although it’s references to God and his Providence are not as in-your-face or forced as some curriculum it was at times trite. We are Christian, and I feel that it isn’t necessary to point out the obvious or attribute speculative meaning to the way God works.

I find the History of US writing style is more engaging and probably at higher level than Notgrass. It does include primary sources in the text, and is equally as beautiful in layout and quality of physical material. The volumes are a nice size, but it does mean that there are several.  You can probably easily find History of US used (that’s what we did). 

if I were choosing one to ADD to your other text I would go with HofUS.  If I were looking for a full History with lit I would go with Notgrass.

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Great points!! Thanks for replying.

Hmmm..............I'm going to have to do some thinking on this.  One of my goals for next year is to NOT have information overload.  I don't want too basic of an overview, but we opted for American only vs. Modern (whole world) so that we could have less details to get through.  Is History of US far more information than Notgrass?

I like the idea of built in assignments in Notgrass, but I see your point (Targhee) about Notgrass having so many pieces, though I think I would just add the 3 texts.

Targhee - do you feel like Notgrass is NOT engaging or do you just prefer History of US?  You specifically said it was engaging.

America's Story has been really fun for them.  It is a living book and doesn't feel very textbook-ish at all.  So I don't mind her having to work through something more textbook-ish next year.  We'll still be reading aloud as a family from America's Story again.

Maybe my idea re: our schedule would help: basically we'll read a lesson from America's Story 4 days a week all together (tutorial 1 day). They will each have a reader to go along with what we are studying to do on their own. My plan is to have the older student also have one of the texts to work through and do assignments from.  This year, America's Story takes about 15 minutes to read and discuss. Sometimes 10, sometimes 20.  But not too long.  So I'd be adding to that.  I may only have her work through the additional text 3 days a week.  If this matters, we will be starting around the time of the California Gold Rush. So we won't be using all of the Notgrass volume 1.

Thanks ladies!

 

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History of Us is probably more engaging, but yes, much more information. On the one hand, all those details are fascinating to some people, myself included. On the other hand, they made it very hard for my son to pick out the key facts, and he had almost zero retention. When we switched to Notgrass he no longer had that problem, and learned and retained a lot. 

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Oh, and Hakim is a bit more visually stimulating, if that matters. Too busy for my tastes, with lots of sidebars and boxes. I can never figure out what to read first when they do that. Notgrass is more straight textbook. 

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1 hour ago, 3girls4me said:

Great points!! Thanks for replying.

Hmmm..............I'm going to have to do some thinking on this.  One of my goals for next year is to NOT have information overload.  I don't want too basic of an overview, but we opted for American only vs. Modern (whole world) so that we could have less details to get through.  Is History of US far more information than Notgrass?

I like the idea of built in assignments in Notgrass, but I see your point (Targhee) about Notgrass having so many pieces, though I think I would just add the 3 texts.

Targhee - do you feel like Notgrass is NOT engaging or do you just prefer History of US?  You specifically said it was engaging.

America's Story has been really fun for them.  It is a living book and doesn't feel very textbook-ish at all.  So I don't mind her having to work through something more textbook-ish next year.  We'll still be reading aloud as a family from America's Story again.

Maybe my idea re: our schedule would help: basically we'll read a lesson from America's Story 4 days a week all together (tutorial 1 day). They will each have a reader to go along with what we are studying to do on their own. My plan is to have the older student also have one of the texts to work through and do assignments from.  This year, America's Story takes about 15 minutes to read and discuss. Sometimes 10, sometimes 20.  But not too long.  So I'd be adding to that.  I may only have her work through the additional text 3 days a week.  If this matters, we will be starting around the time of the California Gold Rush. So we won't be using all of the Notgrass volume 1.

Thanks ladies!

 

HofUS had a writing style that was more engaging.  Notgrass wasn't NOT engaging, but it felt a tiny bit patronizing (like the tone was appropriate for early elem maybe). Also HofUS layout was a bit more engaging having everything right in front of you.  I didn't feel like it was too much info, but it was more than Notgrass.  HofUS would be a good choice to practice WTM Logic level summaries - condensing the information to main important idea and recording it in history binder/notebook.  You wouldn't need comprehension questions then.  The comprehension questions in Notgrass my dd complained about as being busy work. My vote is HofUS, especially since you can find only the volumes you need and used, saving money. But I would preview the texts online if you can and see what lines up with your needs and your child's way of learning.

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3 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

If you do Notgrass DO get the companion book that has all the primary documents in it. That book is incredible. It has all sorts of things in it, like letters written by presidents, poems, famous speeches, hymns, an excerpt from the New England Primer...it's just incredible. Worth getting even if you don't buy their textbook, honestly. 

As for what to do, depends what you want. Hakim is a LOT of detail, but written in an engaging way. If I were the student, Hakim would work for me. Notgrass is more distilled down to the "important" stuff, and what my oldest student needed. He got lost in the weeds with Hakim. He learned a LOT with Notgrass, and Notgrass is super easy to implement. There are discussion questions and project ideas and writing ideas for each chapter right in the textbook. It was nice to have a variety of options for each chapter for output - anything from make a political poster to make a newspaper article to write a compare and contrast essay, etc. 

Hakim is WAY more compatible with my uber liberal outlook, but Notgrass got done, and was what was needed for my son to actually figure out what he was supposed to be focusing on. 

All very helpful! Thanks to you both! 

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When I use Hakim’s US History with my fourth grader, we sit down together and read aloud the book. Afterwords, I grab the iPad and use an app called Inspiration to mindmap the chapter. The mindmap converts into an outline.  As we create mindmaps together, I ask a series of questions to ensure my daughter understands the material.  Once completed,  I email her the outline.  She then edits, saves, and prints the work.  DD enjoys the discussion and retains the info better.  We also get to cuddle on the couch.

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Oh, many libraries have the Hakim books, maybe see if yours does? That way you can look through it and see what you think, and what your child thinks of it. Then compare to the samples on the Notgrass website. 

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I looked at Hakim years ago, and something about the tone just didn’t strike me the right way, although I know many people like it. 

 

I went with Notgrass this year for my seventh grader. Yes, get the companion volume of primary sources. Notgrass is a tad easy for him in level of writing (he was previously using k12’s Human Odyssey and loved them), but he’s a bit of a slowish reader, so a slightly easier level means he can cover several pages in a day. He likes it pretty well. I like that it has interesting things about monuments and national parks and such. We don’t do a ton of output though, as that’s not my goal for him. He reads and does one of the suggested projects or a written narration each chapter. 

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I picked up the History of US to use with my older next year and also found it a bit busy, visually, with all of the sidebars. I ended up getting the concise edition A-D and much prefer it because the pages are so much cleaner and easier to outline.

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I do not think Hakim's HoUS will be for your purpose. It is too big and too in depth. Perhaps use it later for high school US History. But, if you want something to round out what you already are doing, I don't know that Notgrass will work either. Since you already have a spine, I would select good literature or research projects or such. I would not add another text that would be too much like another spine.

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Just another option to consider: CLE’s Changing Frontiers American History program. It is from a Christian publisher, but it aims for a balanced presentation of history (and is easy for this secular homeschooler to stomach). It is a text and consumable worktexts. My DD can do each daily lesson in under 30 minutes, generally, and is getting a thorough coverage of Am history that she is retaining well. I wanted something that stepped up the output in preparation for high school history. I only wish they had a similar world history curriculum for 9th grade!

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6 hours ago, fourisenough said:

Just another option to consider: CLE’s Changing Frontiers American History program. It is from a Christian publisher, but it aims for a balanced presentation of history (and is easy for this secular homeschooler to stomach). It is a text and consumable worktexts. My DD can do each daily lesson in under 30 minutes, generally, and is getting a thorough coverage of Am history that she is retaining well. I wanted something that stepped up the output in preparation for high school history. I only wish they had a similar world history curriculum for 9th grade!

Funny aside but I went to CLE to look at their history and social studies samples since I have never checked them out and it says "not available on Sunday" :) I guess I will take a look tomorrow. 

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1 hour ago, nixpix5 said:

Funny aside but I went to CLE to look at their history and social studies samples since I have never checked them out and it says "not available on Sunday" :) I guess I will take a look tomorrow. 

Funny, I tried to look last Sunday too and then did not think to go look again until today, which clearly won't work out as today is Sunday again!

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